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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25975 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2004 :  20:28:53  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Poll Question:
As a skeptic, which of these "fringe" topics do you feel has yet to be fully explored and is most deserving of further research?

Results:
UFO Sightings/Alien abductions   [0%] 0 votes
Ghosts and Poltergiests   [2%] 1 vote
ESP and Psychic Powers   [8%] 4 votes
Religious Miracles   [6%] 3 votes
Special Creation/Intelligent Design   [6%] 3 votes
Bigfoot or other undiscovered great apes   [14%] 7 votes
Alternative Healing Practices   [38%] 19 votes
None. They're all bogus and further research would simply be a waste of money and time.   [26%] 13 votes


Poll Status: Locked  »»   Total Votes: 50 counted  »»   Last Vote: 10/12/2006 20:07:49 

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.

tomk80
SFN Regular

Netherlands
1278 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  03:14:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit tomk80's Homepage Send tomk80 a Private Message
I think alternative healing practices could have some rewards in research for two reasons. The first is that some (like acupuncture) appear to at least have some kind of beneficial effect, so gaining some insight into the how, why and how much of a number of these practicies would be okay. Second, I think alternative healing offers an insiders look into the mechanisms of the placebo effect.

Tom

`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
-Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll-
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  08:14:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
I would not entirely close the book on any of them, even though most of it is a crock. But it is, after all, a universe huge beyond grasp and thus the possibibilies are also vast. But if I am to be pinned down, I'll agree with Tom that alternitive medicine has some benefits, albeit limited thus far. After all, a wad of spiderweb can stop some pretty heavy bleeding (but not arterial) and I've read that fly maggots are being used to get rid of necrotic flesh from infected and even gangreneous injuries.

As to the various 'natural' pills and nostrums sold as cure-alls, history tells us that there's nothing new about it. I suspect that a variation of this flim-flam might have first run on H. s. neandertalisis by H. s. sapiens, lo these tens of thousands of years ago. And thus perhaps, aiding the extinction of our lamented cousin.

A lot more research needs to be done as to the effects these over-the-counter 'medicines' have when mixed with prescription drugs.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  08:35:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
I'm sure that private individuals and groups will continue regardless of what I say, but enough time and money has been spent on religion, "healing," bigfeets, and the like.
I think we should spend more time and money investigating why people buy into stupid ideas and how we can all learn to lose our stupid ideas.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  08:40:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
I say bigfoot, mostly just because it makes sense with what we already know. We already know that there has been a transition from primeape to human, what is stopping one of these from still existing? Such a find could provide new insight on the development of our brains.

Then again, the skeptical side of me thinks that if such a large creature has not been found yet, it most likely does not exist. But I still think this is the most likely one to be real.

quote:
I think alternative healing practices could have some rewards in research for two reasons. The first is that some (like acupuncture) appear to at least have some kind of beneficial effect, so gaining some insight into the how, why and how much of a number of these practicies would be okay.


I consider alternate healing practices are those which have not passed tests to show they work. They are those which have no explaination on why they work. However, acupuncture has both:

http://www.who.int/medicines/library/trm/acupuncture/acupuncture_trials.pdf

http://www.itmonline.org/arts/acuintro.htm

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
Edited by - Ricky on 10/16/2004 08:41:21
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13458 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  09:51:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
I have to go with Alternative Healing Practices. Of course, many of these are baloney right from the git go. Homeopathics for example. Some food supplements have been shown to be safe and effective, to some degree anyway...

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  09:53:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Well, yes, but then the question is what is "alternative medicine?" Either it's medicine, or it isn't.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  12:04:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
I have the same problem with bigfoot as I do with the Loch Ness hogwash: where are the corpses? With Nessie (and all the other wannabes), there has yet to be a rotting carcass washed ashore and Nesssie as described, would not be much of a cannibal. With Bigfoot (and all the other wannabes), there has been no roadkill and none found in the forests. And never any evidence of a burial.

Unless we are discussing immortality, there has to be a population of these animals. Then the question arises: are there enough resources in the habitats to support a viable population? In the confines of Loch Ness, no. Not for numerous, very large fish-eaters. In the North Woods, also no, unless Bigfoot might be a browser like a deer. There is no evidence to support the existance of a population large, primate browsers. There is no scat nor even bits of hair caught on the brush that could be tested. And a lot of people with too much time on their hands have looked.

But it ain't all bad. It all gives a great many otherwise sensible people something to be awed about, and to scare their unruly children into going to bed at the proper time.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  12:54:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
It didn't let me vote. Should I not have peeked at the results first? I vote for ESP just because no one else had. I think the brain is still mysterious.

So far none needs more investigation but I didn't want to close the door entirely. You know the old, can't prove a negative thing.

Intelligent design, forget it, that's ruled out by the knowledge we have on genetics. Don't start an argument with me, I'm drained posting on a board with a bunch of Libertarians and Bush supporters. I'll get back to you later if you really want to bother.

Alternative healing practices is too broad. Evidence based medicine can answer alternatives and traditional or whatever you want to call 'Western medicine' since no better term has been suggested by 'you know who' that didn't like my definition of 'Western medicine'. Actually, I forgot if it was Dave or someone else.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25975 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  14:27:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Actually, "evidence-based medicine" is the in-vogue phrase these days.

But anyway, no, it won't let you vote if you look at the results first.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  15:02:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

As a skeptic, which of these "fringe" topics do you feel has yet to be fully explored and is most deserving of further research?



I am, it seems, the first to vote for 'religious miracles'. I consider that an important topic for investigation as it plays such a large part in turning sane, rational people into fundies. Perhaps it's anecdotal, but how many of us have hear a person witness by using the old bit about the sick relative who is given weeks to live but then whose cancer mysteriously disappears against any medical explanation and so of course there has to be a god?

The better people understand the nature of illness and the limitations of medical knowledge, the less likely they are to ascribe to any mysterious cure divine intervention. And since I firmly hold to the notion that fewer fundies makes for a better planet, I would argue that lmiting fundie recruiting ammunition is a good thing...
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1882 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  18:39:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message
Like others, so far, it seems that some alternative medicines may hold some promise. The kid in me is still fascinated with UFOs and Aliens, however. But the universe is just too big, distances too far, even in our own neighborhood.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2004 :  19:17:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

Actually, "evidence-based medicine" is the in-vogue phrase these days.

But anyway, no, it won't let you vote if you look at the results first.

'In vogue'? Are you implying it is a mere fad? Being from the medical field, I am wondering where your perspective is coming from? Just curious.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25975 Posts

Posted - 10/17/2004 :  01:03:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
beskeptigal wrote:
quote:
'In vogue'? Are you implying it is a mere fad?
I'm saying that the term may be a fad, much like the terms "Western medicine" or "traditional medicine" have seen their ups and downs.

The practice of evidence-based medicine is what I defend, forcryingoutloud. It hasn't been a fad in any real way since the debunking of Anton Mesmer, and even less so since the formation of the FDA. It is no mere fad, but what it is called may very well be a fad.
quote:
Being from the medical field, I am wondering where your perspective is coming from? Just curious.
My perspective is one of a psoriasis patient who got sick of seeing psoriasis patients preyed upon by quacks. A study done in the late 1990s revealed that psoriasis patients were the number-one clients of "alternative medicine" practitioners, even more than cancer patients. My web site, [url="http://www.psorsite.com/"Dave's Psoriasis Info[/url] was devoted to giving psoriasis patients the best information on the wide variety of popular treatments I could find and/or deduce. In the six or seven years I spent dedicated to nothing but learning about psoriasis treatments, I dare say I got a self-education in medical practices - of all sorts - that many people (even some medical professionals) would envy.

I can tell you, for example, that dietary vitamin D is technically a steroid, but that since most people immediately equate the word 'steroid' with androsterones abused by body-builders, it's often better to leave that unsaid when discussing things like Dovonex. I can also tell you that the insulin resistance associated with Syndrome X is mostly caused by skeletal muscle cells, and not fat cells, but it's the fat cells which begin cranking out tons of TNF-alpha in response to high levels of insulin, which can then accelerate insulin resistance body-wide.

But this is all just biology. What's important is not letting the goddamned legislators pretend that they're medical experts. The FDA needs more independence, and the DSHEA needs to be fully repealed to put everyone back on an even playing field.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 10/17/2004 :  03:33:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Well gee Dave, I'm sorry you have had bad experiences. It sounds like you have it handled. But it is a bit annoying for you to gripe about terminology I use everyday in my profession. We use the term 'evidence based medicine' for good reason. It isn't just in vogue. It is to indicate what a provider expects with treatment recommendations now. In the past, one might have just recommended something and another provider followed. Or logical treatments were undertaken without regard to actual measurements of outcome. Evidence based medicine means just what it says, what does the research say. Medicine is a science, not an art. Surgical skills are an art, but the medicine is a science.

And as to Western medicine, I've discussed this with you before. I know what it means to me and the people I use it with. You are the first person to claim to me that people were labeling alternative medicine as western medicine by having a medically appearing clinic.

The point of language is to communicate. Definitions need to be the same between those communicating. I haven't had trouble with the term meaning anything different to folks that I know of. Any chance you have a chip on your shoulder that's getting a bit in the way?
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 10/17/2004 :  03:39:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Chemical structure of Vitamin D It may be derived from a steroid, and having a 'broken ring' be called a seco-steroid. However, the key to what people usually mean by steroid is the active version of the hormone. You do not get steroid activity in the usual sense by taking vitamin D.
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